Coffee & Cholesterol

See the end of the previous post for the source of this. Quick summary: French press coffee contains oils that are potentially linked to increased cholesterol.

The oils are present in french press coffee because they pass through the wire screen in the press’s filter. With a paper drip filter, the oils are left in the paper.

More likely than not, those gold plated metallic reusable filters don’t do any better of a job filtering the oils than a french press. Use therein could potentially contribute to increased cholesterol levels.

So, if you do use paper filters, get the unbleached, all natural, kind and toss them in your compost heap when done. Coffee grounds have lots of nutrients that plants find quite tasty. As an aside, an occasionally cup of coffee tossed on a Ficus tree will do wonders for it.

Has anyone tried shoving a paper filter into a french press? It would be trivially easy to do as the french press’s filter is actually composed of two metal plates that screw onto the plunger to tightly squeeze the screen in between. Adding a paper filter between the screen and the bottom plate would be really easy.

The question is whether forced filtration is going to leave the oils in the paper or if they will be pushed through the paper?

Anyone have any idea how to test for the presence or absence of the oils?

11 Responses to “Coffee & Cholesterol”

  1. ssp says:

    I read that cholesterol thing as well and do wonder to which extent the ‘potential’ effect actually exists.

    Also, how will the taste be affected by the filter? Wouldn’t adding the filter spoil the advantages (easy to use, no waste, no filter interfering with the coffee) of the French press?

    I am tempted to quickly test whether you idea works though 🙂 I just fear that having the filter in there will just make it impossible to press the plunger all the way down.

  2. Kool says:

    The presence of cholesterol or similar compounds in a liquid can be analyzed on a gas-chromatograph/mass-spectrometer. I quite doubt that there is such a big difference between paper-filtered coffee and french press coffee. Anyway, a little cholesterol isn’t that disastrous, only if you don’t combine it with an otherwise healthy diet (and enough exercise) of course.

  3. bbum says:

    The coffee doesn’t directly contain cholesterol. It supposedly contains compounds that cause the body to raise cholesterol levels by upwards of 10% to 12% in short term studies. The longer term studies seem to indicate that the levels then fall back, but are still elevated. But other studies show that regular coffee has other compounds that influence cholesterol levels in a different fashion.

  4. anon says:

    what about dioxin from white paper filter.

  5. DeanG says:

    My apologies for the unintended crypticism. I guess I thought that topic was a dead horse and inconclusive enough to be constantly bantered…

    My initial encounter with the topic: Brian Jepson: It’s not the caffeine that worries me.

  6. bbum says:

    Oh, never underestimate the cluelessness of those of us that weren’t paying attention… 🙂 No apologies necessary, Google is remarkably adept at filling in for memes while the press is remarkably adept at creating memes from nothing.

    An update: I have a friend whose family is steeped in the medical industry. They are having a look around and will let me know what they find.

  7. alwin says:

    A pertinent question: are the elevated cholesterol levels associated with higher or lower levels of HDL’s (high density lipoproteins) and LDL (low density lipoproteins)? Not all cholesterol is equal.

    Raising your HDL’s are good, lowering your LDL’s are good, and if both happen but the total cholesteral goes up a smidge who cares?

    Medicine – the human body, for that matter – is a complex topic, not easily boiled down to single numbers and simple concepts. There are writers in the weblog world that would like to beleive that medicine has missed the boat and that, if it were treated like engineering, we could retool our bodies the way we overclock our computers.

    We are more than the sum of our parts, the numbers on a lab test, the readout on a screen. We are legion, all intertwingled.

  8. alwin says:

    Oh, and my brewer of choice? The Bodum Mini-Santos vacuum pot. I love it, makes the cleanest cup of coffee I’ve had the pleasure to drink.

  9. coffee machines says:

    More likely than not, those gold plated metallic reusable filters don’t do any better of a job filtering the oils than a french press. Use therein could potentially contribute to increased cholesterol levels.

    Good news, idid not know that!

    Thanks for advising

  10. free range chicken says:

    Ohhh, i find this article very interesting. Once i read in a book about coffee properties and i found that coffee is not good for pregnant women and it causes bad consequences in nervous reactions. However, coffee has good elements such refreshing your mind and it keeps you awake while you are a bit tired. This is a good technic and natural way for keeping working. I use it and i find this very useful.
    Now i find this information!… i will take this into account. Thanks for advice.

  11. spammer (but comment is pertinent) says:

    I’m kinda mixed up. People who usually consume unfiltered coffee are prone on cholesterol build up. Unfiltered coffee such as Espresso and Turkish coffee have higher amount of the substance called Cafestol – a substance naturally found in coffee beans that elevates cholesterol and liver enzymes. One way of avoiding cafestol is to drink filtered and instant coffees. In this way, Cafestol are already “squeezed” out from the coffee.

    Person consuming more than 5 cups a day of unfiltered coffee has 5% more cholesterol increase than those who don’t. Though this number may not be dangerous for you body, but this significance elevates the risk of getting heart diseases.

    To Coffee addicts and lovers, it may not be easy giving up coffee every morning, but one way of diminishing your cholesterol level is to have yourself engaged in any physical activity. Exercise would be the best way to lowering not only your cholesterol, but your weight and fat, giving you the chance to alleviate your body and your health.

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